More than Life . . .

4 (2)PortrtMay14

You’ve likely seen recent images of twenty-one Egyptian young men – Coptic Christians – clad in orange jumpsuits, kneeling in line on the Libyan seashore. Behind each one stands a hooded radical Islamist, clad in black, clasping a knife.

The barbaric, bloody act, repeated twenty-one times, of severing the heads from the bodies of living humans – these young men, shows the depths to which people can plunge when their hearts and minds are gripped with graceless religious and ideological passion. Mercy and truth are alien to graceless religion and hate-filled ideology.

Those barbaric executions were made even more horrific as the murderers cast the bodies into the sea, rendering it red with the blood of these 21st Century Christian martyrs. That act denied their families the opportunity to perform their cultural and faith burial practices.

More than Life ...

More than Life …

Information has emerged that indicates the majority of commercial media outlets seem to have ignored certain details. A missionary with contacts in the region shared that the Coptic young men, mostly in their mid-20s, went to Libya in search of work to support their families who were living in poverty in Egypt.

During the weeks prior to the executions their captors tortured them in an attempt to get them to deny Christ in exchange for their lives. Each of them stood firm, refusing to deny their Saviour. The beautiful, if not astounding, thing is that they died singing praises to the Lord.

I’ve since learned that Jim Daly of Focus on the Family confirmed these things in his blog, Daly Focus, for he also has contacts in Egypt. He also points out that “NBC News devoted ten times more coverage to its 40th anniversary of ‘Saturday Night Live’ than to this tragedy.”

However, the faithful testimony of those twenty-one young men will outshine the ephemeral glory of the world. The world with its glitz and glamour – one that’s  fixated on “let’s eat, drink and be merry”; a world in which swathes of the Christian community are tarnished  by tawdry scandal, a church in which many are deceived by the allure of material wealth and beguiled by the cult of celebrity.

The question comes: How much of that world has leached into my soul?

Such a world and such a church is not worthy of these young men nor of the Lord to whom they remained true. Perhaps they didn’t fully understand the claims of Christ and the Gospel, and maybe they didn’t live perfect, saintly lives. God alone knows. In the final analysis they remained true.

Some of us may have sung these chorus lines of the bouncy gospel hymn, Who Can Cheer the Heart like Jesus:

All that thrills my soul is Jesus,

He is more than life to me,

And the fairest of ten thousand

In my blessed Lord I see.*

Got that? “He is more than life to me.” More than sweethearts, more than wives and children, and more than other loved ones. More than life itself. Ultimately, those young men proved it with their life-blood. What a powerful inspiration for our spiritual walk, this Lent.

Let us pray for their families and for all who are persecuted for the Gospel’s sake – for the “illusion of the cross” as one of the jihadists called it. The spiritual meaning and significance of the Cross of Christ was no illusion, but Divine Reality, to those young men in their time of trial and witness.

They loved not their lives unto the death. A crown of righteousness and glory is surely theirs, by the mercy and grace of God. Their faith was found to be radical. Like a tap root, it reached way down into the soil of the love and sustaining grace of God, and it carried them through.

Let us pray that the Spirit of God will penetrate the darkness of their killers’ hearts and transform their lives.

May our hearts fill up with wonder and our gratitude go deep, in view of the brave example those martyrs set for us. And may it inspire and challenge us to dwell in the love of God the Father and the grace of the Lord Jesus, and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit – One God, forever blessed, AMEN.

~~~

*Composer: Thoro Harris; © owner, Nazarene Publishing House.

~~+~~

7
Neighbourhood at Peace

 

I again include this backyard snapshot, which includes our yard and our neighbour’s, too. Today it speaks to me of the tranquility of a neighbourhood at peace. I could wish that people everywhere were able to experience such a blessing, and for it never to be shattered.

~~~

21 Egyptian Copts Photo Credit: Our source, Buzz-Feed News

~~+~~

The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   He Cares for You  Tenacity  Sunday Stillness

~~~    

Positive reader feedback for the book “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of  a Grateful Heart.” Some have purchased second and third copies – and even a fourth – to give to family members and friends.

Available from author for $17.00 (list price $19.50) + $5.50 shipping to an address in Canada. See Contact Form below.

Ebook version now available. Click: Raise Your Gaze … Ebook

Now out:  Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca
Ebook version now available.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior  adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

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Posted in adversity, Coptics beheaded by ISIS, Courage, Faithfulness, Honour, Inspirational, Martyrdom, Radical, Thankfulness | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Raise Gaze and Furrowed Brow

4 (2)PortrtMay14

Raise Your Gaze finally has entered the New Year! Hmm, this is the first post here of 2015. It’s just as well Yours Truly hadn’t made a resolution to absolutely cut out procrastination, or it would have been broken already!

But still, now that we’re here I must say that I’m still finding positive gaze-raising incidents occurring every day.

Even in the midst of terror and horrific acts of violence, deeds of a positive nature sometimes – and often do – occur.

For example, in Paris, France:

*While radical Islamist jihadist Amedy Coulibaly held shoppers and staff hostage in fear and four people he’d shot already lay dead and bleeding, courageous gaze-raising action unfolded in the basement.

Lassana Bathily, a young Malian Muslim immigrant, demonstrated great presence of mind. Switching off power to the stockroom’s cold storage, located in the basement, he hid a group of shoppers inside. He then sneaked outside via a fire escape to speak to the police, but risked being shot to death, as police mistook him for the killer. They forced him to the ground and handcuffed him. That was cleared up and Bathily provided them with the key required to open the store’s blinds and launch their assault, which led to the termination of the hostage crisis.

~~~

Upon hearing news of despicable acts of murder and terror, anger and indignation mount and eyebrows either rise or scrunch, to deepen the furrows in worried, perplexed brows.

The gaze of noble and honourable eyes rises in gratitude and wonder at the thoughtful, caring deeds of Good Samaritans

as in this case of the Muslim worker, employed in a Jewish business establishment.

Let’s offer a prayer for that young man who played such an important role in the care of others, since his own safety may now be at stake.

Other gaze-raisers have surfaced in connection with the case.

*One of the workers who died in the incident at the store was a 22 year-old Jewish man, Yohan Cohen. A Moroccan immigrant, Amine, said of Cohen that he was “amazing, friendly . . . who respects people.”

“I’m Muslim and he’s Jewish. But there’s such respect between us.

We’re like brothers.”

~~~

7

Neighbourhood at Peace

May our hearts as well as our gaze rise in thanksgiving for the good, and also in prayer for victims and would-be perpetrators of such crimes, and for a change in the circumstances that lead to them.

This backyard snapshot includes our yard and our neighbour’s, too. Today it speaks to me of the tranquility of a neighbourhood at peace. I could wish that people everywhere were able to experience such a blessing, and for it never to be shattered.

~~~

*Credit: These accounts are based on online reports by Michel Euler / Associated Press, and also from CBC News, January 11/15. Accessed Jan. 16/15.

~~+~~

The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   He Cares for You  Tenacity  Sunday Stillness

~~~    

Positive reader feedback for “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of  a Grateful Heart.” Some have purchased second and third copies to give to family members and friends.

Ebook version now available: Raise Your Gaze … Ebook

Now out:  Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca
Ebook version now available.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior  adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

Posted in adversity, Friendship, Giving thanks, Honour, Inspirational, Lifting Spirits, others-centred, Paris Kosher Store Hostage-Taking, Paris Terrorist Attack, Raised gaze, Random Acts of Kindness, Respect, Thankfulness, Vision | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Advent Wonder

4 (2)PortrtMay14

A sense of wonder goes a long way in enjoying winter, or any season. Each presents its wonders, whether in the natural world, or in those simple kindnesses and benefits of everyday. For example, consider the simple wonder stirred when you observe an attentive spring robin caring for its young, or the visiting sparrow alighting on your snow-covered window sill and tilting its head as though checking up on you, brightening your day.

Reflect on the store clerk who, although it’s nearing closing time, pleasantly greets you, despite the long weary customer lines and snarly characters she’s dealt with during her hours on the job. That’s also wonderful. Or, when you are away from home and a thoughtful neighbour picks up your emptied garbage bin that’s rolling across the road, driven by brisk winds. When we perform simple acts of kindness we may spark wonder in someone else’s life.

I wonder how Mary and Joseph felt as that first Christmas drew near. We don’t know for sure that Mary actually rode on a donkey. The Bible doesn’t say; she may have been on foot. They’d trodden a rugged road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, braved possible danger from bandits, and an uphill gradient in places made for a tedious climb. Feel Joseph’s Virgin&ChildPSdismay when told that there was no room in the inn for him and Mary, who was at the point of giving birth. Imagine his relief when the humble animal shelter was offered as an option.

[Pic Courtesy PrintShop]

And now, twenty centuries later, millions still share a great sense of wonder at that humble couple’s journey, their makeshift lodgings and the birth of the baby, God’s Gift from heaven. A virgin gives birth to the Christ Child – the rightful king of Israel and Saviour of the world – in such humble surroundings. She lays Him in a straw-filled manger. The Holy Family is often pictured with a cow and a donkey or two, while a pair of doves perched above, watches over them. The addition of wondering, worshiping shepherds, accompanied by sheep and a lamb, enhances the poignancy and sense of wonder.

But why? Because this birth disrupts all expectation. Baby kings are born in palaces (or nowadays in the best hospitals) and raised in luxury. This Child is not only a human descendent of Israel’s King David; He is the Divine Son of God, the Saviour and Redeemer of the world. Grace inspires wonder, especially when greatness demonstrates deep humility.

That’s what we see here. In order to accomplish Redemption for us, Jesus would live a perfect, sinless life, and die a horrific death as the ultimate sacrificial victim, in behalf of the world He created. He is the Child born to die – “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The innkeeper’s position is understandable, for he had “No Vacancy.” We might have experienced that ourselves, when looking for a room for a night on our travels. Joseph’s family was from Bethlehem. In considering the hospitality culture of their day, it seems surprising that he didn’t find temporary accommodation among extended family.

Jesus, in His humble birth, partook of our poverty; in His death He suffered rejection. The continuing wonder of Advent and Christmas for me is that Christ still comes into the lives of all who make room for Him. Let us not turn Him away, to suffer rejection yet again.

~~+~~

The above article was published in P-Pep! column in The Watford Guide Advocate, Dec. 18, 2014.

Now out:  Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3

Now in ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QH1KZ3I

Paperback Available from the author, see Contact form.
Author Price: $17 + $5 S/H (Canadian addresses).
 
Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com
www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca 
 

What readers are saying about the book Raise Your Gaze . . . :

I want to tell you my wife is reading Raise your Gaze and calls it wonderful. One story she enjoyed most was about Lincoln Alexander. She knew him personally. . . . It’s a beautiful book. (D. R.) 

D.R. also wrote: “I found it hard to put down. The word images are fascinating, the ideas inspiring and the stories often amusing. . .”

Your book was such a blessing to me, I want to read it again, to gain more from it. (D. M.)

I enjoyed your book very much and believe that God can use it . . . (W. B.)

~~~

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

Author Price: $14 + $5 S/H (Canadian addresses).

The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior  adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

 ~~+~~

Posted in Advent, Christ Child, Christmas, Inspirational, Mary & Joseph, Redemption, The Holy Family, Uncategorized, Wonder | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Looking Down for a Raised Gaze

Looking downward isn’t always bad. As a kid, I often found items of interest on the 4 (2)PortrtMay14sidewalk or in the gutter. Sometimes it would be a nut, a bolt or screw, a tire valve cap, and sometimes the prized thing for a kid—money. One time, as a 7-year-old I found an expensive gold watch, and received a reward from the owner once she was tracked down. My eyes lit up with that one!

Several weeks ago, when crossing the bridge spanning a community lake, I looked down and that got me looking up. Trees all around displayed glorious autumn colours, for they’d only started dropping their leaves.

However, I noted that on the bank directly by the water, willows and several other deciduous and leaf-dropping varieties were still very green. Hmm, perhaps they were  trying hard to be like the evergreen cedars that grow among them.Fallen Leaves Drifting on Water

What do I know about such things? Not much. But I mused about Psalm one and it’s analogy of a person who lives to please the Lord God. He (or she) is “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither . . .” (from Psalm 1:3, NIV).

I paused, as I often do, to look down at the water from the bridge, to see signs of life, enjoy reflections if the lake surface is calm, or to spot someone fishing on the bank. Bypassing the glorious leaf shades further up the bank, I trained my camera onto some of the greenery at water’s edge and a sprinkling of early-fallen leaves that had found their way to the water.

No big deal . . . just a few leaves, and yet I leaned on the bridge for several minutes and thought about them. And now I think about fallen leaves as representing people and as I do, these simple lines form (to the left): FallenLeavesPost

 Even now individuals come to mind; people I’ve met over the years. Like fallen leafs, their lives were broken and bedraggled. Some drifted through life aimlessly—others of them aiming, but heading in unhelpful directions. And now today they’re like evergreens, vibrant and alive, like trees planted by the waters, drawing moisture and sustenance that satisfy the thirsting of their souls.

My simple act of looking downward from that bridge raised my gaze to see yet again the glory and grace of Father God in transformed lives, through the Lord Jesus Christ His Son, our Saviour, Redeemer and Friend.~~+~~

~~~                            

Now out:  Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca 
Or from the author, see Contact form.
Coming soon: ebook version

Author Price: $17 + $5 S/H (Canadian addresses).

What readers are saying about the book Raise Your Gaze . . . :

I want to tell you my wife is reading Raise your Gaze and calls it wonderful. One story she enjoyed most was about Lincoln Alexander. She knew him personally. . . . It’s a beautiful book. (D. R.) 

D.R. also wrote: “I found it hard to put down. The word images are fascinating, the ideas inspiring and the stories often amusing. . .”

Your book was such a blessing to me, I want to read it again, to gain more from it. (D. M.)

I enjoyed your book very much and believe that God can use it . . . (W. B.)

~~+~~

 

Posted in Autumn, Downward look, Drifting, Fallen leaves, Floating leaves, Hope, Inspirational, Lifting Spirits, Raised gaze, Redemption, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saying and Giving Thanks

4 (2)PortrtMay14“How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me? Things so undeserved that You do to prove your love for me.”*

These opening lines of Andraé Crouch’s classic praise song express my sentiments, too, and ring strong in my soul. Perhaps yours, as well.

Again and again, my heart swelled with gratitude towards family members, old and new friends, and to our Heavenly Father, as day after day my wife and and I experienced kindness and generosity during our recent trip to the UK.

As we travelled from place to place and home to home, some folk gave up their beds for us and slept on couches and inflatable mattresses on the floor. They spared no effort to ensure our comfort and provide great meals and interesting trips.

It seemed that the words Thanks and Thank you were never off our lips—nor should theyBus at Ayr
 ever be. I noticed that they were on other people’s lips, too. Family and friends generously drove us places, and yet we did more travelling by bus and coach in several weeks there than we’d done throughout four decades in Canada.

We’d thank the driver as we were about to leave the vehicle, and observed that most other travellers did, too. We frequently heard phrases such as, “Thanks,” “Thanks driver,” and “Thank y’very much,” and some fellows would say, “Thanks mate.”

Seriously, from Glasgow’s brogue and Edinburgh’s east-side tones, to Yorkshire’s broad sounds, in my hearing the majority of folks thanked the driver, when disembarking. I noted also that a person’s appearance gave no clue as to who would or would not express thanks, for both the unkempt and well-dressed most often did.

Cultural celebrations of Thanksgiving (as in the Harvest Festival of the Brits and the Canadian and American Thanksgivings on their respective dates) involve more than saying thanks. The giving aspect suggests that a sign of genuine gratitude involves an element of giving towards the meeting of someone else’s need. And so, we have food drives, ‘white gifts’ and other schemes to provide a boost from our bounty, so that other folks may have a share.

Historically and ultimately, such celebrations are means of expressing thanks to God, since “EveryRoyalty-Free Courstesy of Dreamstime.com good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of change” (James 1:17, tr. from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts).

The thankful heart grows in the soil of everyday, in the small matters, such as in the simple act of expressing thanks to bus and coach drivers, or the clerk at the checkout. And as I observed, some of those who do so may surprise us. Remember that, of the ten men Jesus healed of leprosy, it was the Samaritan who came back to express thanks. “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan” (see Luke 17:12-19 NIV). Jesus remarked, “Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine?”

Will you join me and millions of others “at Jesus’ feet,” pouring out heartfelt thanks, this Thanksgiving?

~~~

*Lines from Crouch’s song credit: © 1971 by Bud John Songs, Inc.; 1971 Lexicon Music

~~+~~

Family and Faith Matters   The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   He Cares for You

~~~                                          

Now out:  Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca 
Or from the author, see Contact form.
Coming soon: ebook version

Author Price: $17 + $5 S/H (Canadian addresses).

What readers are saying about the book Raise Your Gaze . . . :

I want to tell you my wife is reading Raise your Gaze and calls it wonderful. One story she enjoyed most was about Lincoln Alexander. She knew him personally. . . . It’s a beautiful book. (D. R.) 

D.R. also wrote: “I found it hard to put down. The word images are fascinating, the ideas inspiring and the stories often amusing. . .”

I enjoyed your book very much and believe that God can use it . . . (W. B.)

Instead of reading one chapter at a time, as I intended to, I read four the first time . . . I’m enjoying it. (J.B.)

~~~

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

Author Price: $14 + $5 S/H (Canadian addresses).

The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior  adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

Posted in Edinburgh, Giving thanks, Glasgow, Harvest Festival, Inspirational, James 1:17, Lifting Spirits, others-centred, Thankfulness, Thanksgiving, Yorkshire | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Jinxed?

4 (2)PortrtMay14Sometimes we may well wonder whether we’re jinxed.

Great! When my manuscript document for “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart” was nearing the end of its journey and editing and formatting and final checking were just about complete, things got horribly scrambled. Intense reworking was carried out against tight time lines.

Great! Time for it to go to the printer. But then, upon its arrival on the other side of the continent on the printer’s computer system — haywire . . . Again!

Of course, the ironic tone behind the above ‘Greats!’ is intentional.

But Great! I’m glad to report that the book, Raise Your Gaze, is now out — despite the challenges. Those of us involved in the process have had an opportunity to learn. (Thank you Lord . . . my gaze is raised!)

Ever had that jinxed feeling? Has the thought ever crossed your mind? It most likely happens when we experience the sting of a string of disappointments, such as when when several household items, or our car or equipment break down. Sometimes it’s a raft of health challenges or difficult personal or family circumstances that assault us.

My late Dad, who became a committed Christian and follower of Jesus in 1938, used to say, “Listen son, the Scripture teaches us that nothing cometh by chance, but all things are ordained of the Lord.”

If we accept that as true, then we understand we’re not jinxed, but imperfect humans living in an imperfect work. Personally though, I am human, yet more than human. (John 1:1-14; 3:1-8; Titus 3:4-8; 1 John 3:1-3). That is because I have received spiritual rebirth through the operation of the Holy Spirit, and now I am a spiritual child of God. Let me express it this way:

~I am God’s ‘property’ and offspring by virtue of Creation.

~I am His ‘treasure’ and spiritual child by virtue of Re-Creation. That is, as the result of Redemption. Redemption, a wonderful theme, because it is a marvellous reality.

Redemption – essentially meaning to buy back, set free at a price; to reclaim and reinstate. Yep, redemption costs, and in Jesus Christ, God Almighty paid the price His righteousness demands, through Jesus’ sufferings and death on the Cross (as recorded in the latter chapters of the four Gospels), to set me free from my sins and their penalty and power.

He did that for you, too. (Matt. 20:28; John 3:16-17; Ephesians 1:7.) Read Paul’s letters to the Romans and his other letters, the Hebrews letter, and Peter’s letters (all are in the New Testament Scriptures). Redemption through the shed blood of Christ is there.

But what about the jinxing or the not jinxing thing? In this world we encounter troubles; however, God is greater that our troubles. We thank Him for our blessings for those times when life sails along nicely. And we also look to Him for help, wisdom and understanding — and for divine intervention too, when things run against us and the going’s tough.

The forces of darkness in the spiritual realms attempt to steal, kill and destroy, but Christ came to give us a quality of life that transcends time and space, and material possessions — or even the lack of them (John 10:10; Philippians 4:12-13).

Our Heavenly Father knows what’s coming down the pike. He can prevent it, His Holy Spirit might lead us to a diversion around it, or He may take us through it.

He has promised to be with us, and that raises our gaze. Let us ever look upward to see and receive and live in His grace!

Not jinxed, but blessed — and not by chance, but according our Heavenly Father’s will and action.

~~+~~

Family and Faith Matters   The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   He Cares for You

~~~

Peter’s second book, “Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart” (collection of 52 revised articles from P-Pep! column, sprinkled with Words to Bless), is now in print. Published by Angel Hope Publishing. An ebook version will soon be available.    10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_o

ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3. List Price $19.50.

Available from: http://www.glynisbelec.com ; Amazon

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior  adults.

ISBN: 1897373-21-X. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca . List price $15.99.

His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact (now SAGE) and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

Posted in chance, Creation, Foundations, Inspirational, jinx, Lifting Spirits, New birth, Perseverence, Re-Creation, Redemption, Spiritual birth | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sean*

4 (2)PortrtMay14He’s got the moves. I mean, he really moves—cruising and gliding this way and that. He’s smart and efficient. His white shirt and dark dress pants suit him and complement his smile.

His pleasant, respectful manner grabbed my attention the first time he took my wife’s and my order in a local fast-food joint, three or four years ago. Sean’s not the store manager, and contrary to my impression, neither is he the business owner’s son. He’s a teenager, who happens to stand out; it’s the way he is.

In an age in which, at times, it seems that common courtesy is in short supply, we wonder what kind of pathetic characters are going to be running the world, and then a teenager like Sean comes our way. Our eyebrows shoot up a couple of notches and our hopes for the coming generation and future of the world revive.

He has worked at this outlet for some years now. One of his peers, a fellow workmate, 13speaking privately to me, remarked, “Sean’s awesome!” How’s that for one youth’s endorsement of another. Yep, Sean’s a gaze-raiser!

I don’t know much about him—although I’m curious. I haven’t had opportunity, in the rush of his employment place, to chat at length. However, over time my observations led me to suspect that his parents taught him well and impressed on him principles for living—principles, such as the following:

~Demonstrate self-respect by respecting others.

~ Rights must be balanced by responsibilities.

~Expect it of yourself to be a giver, rather than a taker, for the world doesn’t owe you a good life.

~Demonstrate an honest and diligent work ethic, for trustworthiness will open doors to you.

~Exhibit a pleasant disposition and positive attitude towards others, and most people will respond accordingly.

~Develop self-discipline and self-restraint, and you will live well and experience true liberty.

I don’t know whether Sean is a Christ-follower or was raised in a faith tradition of any kind, yet he reminds me of these Scripture verses:

“My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the correction of discipline are the ways of life . . .” (Proverbs 6:20-23a).

I thank God for the ‘Seans’ of the world. Let us pray for the young folk in our lives and seek to demonstrate and impress on them life-affirming principles that will become their chosen way of life. May this lead to the raising of many a gaze and result in elevated vision, and also inspire hope-filled horizons in many lives.

Hmm, it might even play a role in leading them into their eternal destiny in the love and grace of God.

~~~

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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Family and Faith Matters   The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   He Cares for You

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Now out:  Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca
Coming soon: ebook version

 

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior  adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

Posted in character formation, Foundations, Honour, Inspirational, Lifting Spirits, others-centred, parenting, Respect, Responsibility, Vision | Tagged | 1 Comment